I’ve personally been in a long distance relationship before and I understand that despite efforts which can be made to keep in touch with your partner, it’s never the same as having the person with you and by your side.
Over the years, I have submitted several Spouse visa applications to the Home Office on behalf of clients and every time that positive result comes through, you would catch a re-occurring ignition of excitement in the voices or on the faces of the clients.
Mostly, the excitement springs out of the long wait to finally have your partner join you legally and permanently in the UK—and to share a common home as well as work together towards your dreams.
When I married in Ghana in 2017, my wife’s spouse visa application took just 14 working days to be granted under the priority service. Even that, the wait was unnerving. Sometimes, the same spouse application can take up to 3 months or even more—depending on several factors including if you know what you are doing.
The United Kingdom recognises a right to family life and it’s the spirit of the law that couples who meet certain requirements can live in the UK legally and pursue their dreams together, including starting a family if they wish.
However, bringing your spouse from abroad to settle with you in the UK involves long convoluted processes and understanding of the applicable Immigration rules/requirements—which I intend to summarize for you.
Who Qualifies for UK’s Spouse Visa/Settlement Visa
UK’s spouse visa falls under the settlement visa category and this is available to non-EU citizens who are married to persons settled in the UK or British nationals. If your spouse is a British Citizen, holds Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence, then you qualify for this type of visa.
The Most Important Requirements to Meet
The requirements for obtaining a UK spouse visa are outlined in the Immigration Rules Appendix FM. Though the Immigration Rules may seem complicated to comprehend, basically, for you to qualify for a spouse visa, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You and your spouse must be 18 years old or over.
- You must have met each other and be legally married
- The marriage between both parties must be valid and legal
- You must intend to live together permanently
- The relationship must be both genuine and subsisting
- You must have enough money to support yourselves (and any dependents) without obtaining public funds.
- Your sponsoring partner must earn more than £18,600 per year or have enough savings to be able to sponsor you. If you intend to come to the UK with a dependent child, then the minimum financial requirement is higher than £18,600 a year.
- There must be a suitable accommodation for you in the UK
- You must satisfy the English language requirements
- And if you are coming from certain countries such as Ghana and Nigeria, you are required to take a Tuberculosis (TB) Test.
Important Evidence/Supporting Documents Required
The Home Office/UK Visas and Immigration does not give any claim without evidence a proper legal recognition. Therefore, all UK visa applications including spouse visa applications are evidence-based. If you state that you are married, you must present an acceptable/recognizable marriage certificate to confirm your statement.
Apart from marriage certificates, applicants are required to convince the Entry Clearance Officer that their marriage to their sponsors/spouses is genuine—and that they are in a subsisting relationship. Here, presenting a marriage certificate and a couple of photos are not enough.
You must show that, even with your spouse living far across the ocean, there is regular or constant communication as would be expected of all genuine couples.